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Gastric Acid Aspiration Possible During Flexible Endoscopy Without General Anesthesia

Michael J. Kibelbek, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(2):128. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460020018015.
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Sir.—I wish to comment on Dr Bendig's1 recent article, "Removal of Blunt Esophageal Foreign Bodies by Flexible Endoscopy Without General Anesthesia."

I suggest that Dr Bendig has been fortunate in avoiding pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents in his patients, a life-threatening complication. Animal studies have suggested a critical gastric volume of 0.4 mL/kg and a pH of 2.5 or less as predisposing to serious pulmonary aspiration.2 Pediatric patients are even more likely than adults to exceed this critical volume and pH.3,4 Coté et al5 found 50 of 51 pediatric patients to have gastric pH less than 2.5 immediately after induction of general anesthesia. Of these 51 children, 76% had gastric pH less than 2.5 and gastric volume greater than 0.4 mL/kg, placing them at risk for acid aspiration syndrome.

I suspect that many of Dr Bendig's patients were also at risk for acid aspiration both

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